Forestry sector works to make safe start to the New Year
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is working with forest owners and workers to introduce the recently released Approved Code of Practice for Safety and Health in Forest Operations.
This year the Ministry has contributed to industry Safe Start breakfasts, which highlight the importance of health and safety to forest crews. Local inspectors will be present at the breakfasts to invite crews to local road shows, where changes in the new Code will be fully explained.
“The Safe Start breakfasts are a great industry initiative and provides the Ministry with a rare opportunity to reach the men on the hill,” says General Manager Health and Safety Operations, Ona de Rooy.
“This is just one of a range of activities to launch the new Code and improve awareness about health and safety in the forestry industry.”
Each year forest owners run Safe Start breakfasts for their crews to ensure they are involved in health and safety planning and understand the importance of safety in what are often hazardous conditions.
“The physically demanding working conditions in the industry are major contributors to the injury and fatality rates,” Ms de Rooy says.
“The Health and Safety in Employment Act (HSE Act) places duties on employers to ensure they provide a safe workplace and on workers to do their work safely and not put others at risk. The Code provides practical safety advice to both employers and employees to ensure they are complying with the HSE Act.”
“Worker participation is a fundamental element of the HSE Act. The Code outlines the health and safety provisions that employers must take under that Act, including involving workers in safety planning.”
“The Ministry is looking forward to working with stakeholders across the sector in an effort to lift worker participation. We will be actively engaging unions and worker representatives to ensure crew members are involved in the development of health and safety systems.”
Following the industry-run breakfasts, the Ministry is hosting local road shows to roll-out the new Code. These will provide crews the opportunity to engage with local forest inspectors and members of the Code’s review committee, to ensure they understand changes to the new Code and how those changes will be introduced.
The new Code is just one part of a wider range of work to create greater health and safety in forestry. Government- and industry-led programmes continue the work towards reduced injury and fatality rates in the sector.